In a statement sent to Punto, De Lima expressed jubilation over what she described as a “beautiful rosary” sent to her by Pope Francis. De Lima showed the rosary to family members, friends and supporters during a Mass yesterday at the PNP Custodial Center.
The statement recalled that “in a handwritten letter De Lima sent ahead of her birthday last August, she requested Pope Francis for prayers for herself and the Filipino people, especially for the thousands of victims of alleged extrajudicial killings in the country.”
“I cannot thank Pope Francis enough for his thoughtfulness. I’m deeply, deeply touched by the Pope’s gesture. This gift will constantly remind me that, despite the political persecution I am experiencing right now at the hands of a vengeful President. I should keep the faith and fi ght tirelessly for the welfare of the Filipino people,” she said in the statement.
She, however, did not describe the rosary. De Lima said that last Nov. 22, the PNP chaplain handed to her the rosary from Pope Francis who had coursed it through the papal nuncio.
She was apparently referring to Rev. Fr. Eligio Mativo who has the rank of senior superintendent in the PNP. She said the rosary came also with a message from the Pontiff but she did not say what was in the message.
“According to the chaplain, Pope Francis was able to read my letter and assured that he is praying for me,” she added.
De Lima said in her letter, she had asked the Pope to off er a prayer for her and her countrymen “who are suffering from abuses and injustices since Duterte launched his government’s all-out war on drugs.”
“Papa Francesco, if I may be granted one wish, I hope that you will say a prayer for me and the Filipino people. Please bless me so I can have the strength to continue the fight against the injustice that is happening not only to me, but to thousands of Filipinos who are victims of extrajudicial killing,” the statement quoted De Lima as telling the Pope.
De Lima also asked for the Pope’s blessing “to give her strength in relentlessly standing up against the state-led abuses,” the statement also said.
“I do not know when I will regain my freedom. Only faith sustains me through this nightmare. Please include me and the Philippines in your prayers,” she wrote.